Liberal softwood failure jeopardizes Canadian jobs

OTTAWA – Following the announcement that the U.S. will apply punitive countervailing duties of up to 24% on Canadian softwood lumber, the NDP is urging the Liberal government to stand up for Canadian jobs and fair trade.

“After months of claiming that there was nothing to fear, the Liberals have failed to get the job done on softwood, risking thousands of Canadians jobs. Now Canadian producers are faced with unfair duties that threaten mill closures and will harm communities across the country," said Tracey Ramsey, NDP critic for International Trade.

The Canadian lumber industry employs over 200,000 people from coast to coast. During the last softwood lumber dispute, about 400 sawmills closed in Canada, costing over 20,000 jobs. These job losses disproportionately hurt rural communities.

“Now that President Trump has imposed tariffs, Canadians want to know how the Liberal government will respond. Another round in court is not a solution,” added Ramsey. “It’s about time Justin Trudeau stood up to Donald Trump and stood up for softwood lumber jobs.”

The Liberals have ignored calls by the provinces of Ontario and Quebec for federal loan guarantees to help ensure companies aren’t bankrupted by U.S. duties, which trade tribunals have consistently found to be unjustified. 

“Communities like mine that depend on softwood are very worried,” said Karine Trudel, NDP MP for Jonquière.  “What steps will the Liberals take to ensure workers don’t pay the price for another unfair trade dispute? We need immediate action and a concrete short-term plan to deal with this emerging crisis.”